December 31st will mark the end of an official full year of Ata-Girl being a full-time business and its fifth year in business. I have now outlasted 40% of the business who failed in their first two years and I’m now racing against 55% of businesses who will, statistically, fail in their fifth year in business. I have had such an amazing time learning the art of photography and creating images that are a lasting part of people’s legacy. It’s such an honor to be part of someone else’s journey and I get to do just that on a regular basis.
I begin each business year with a list of photography goals for Ata-Girl. Some of the photography goals are very realistic and some are pretty dreamy. However, some of the dreamy ones have actually come true… like when I had the pleasure of second shooting for an international wedding photographer. The list becomes a target that I keep my eye on all year long trying to achieve as many as possible. At the end of the year, I review those same photography goals and determine how well I performed and how many I obtained. His is the review of my goals for 2014:
- Go full-time! COMPLETED. It was such a relief to only have to worry about one job in 2014. I still spent a few Saturdays and Sundays at my desk, but because this is such a huge passion for me, it was not at all painful. I love nearly each and every moment that I get to be a professional photographer.
- Go full-frame! COMPLETED. After shooting on a pair of Nikon D7000’s for a few years, I took a giant leap forward and purchased two Nikon D4s’s. I can’t even put into words the range and depth of ISO I am able to utilize. I have literally shot at 20,000 ISO and produced the same amount of noise that my D7000 would produce at ISO 3,200. This was one of the best decisions I have made for Ata-Girl.
- Have a home studio! WORKING ON IT. I’m currently working on a spare bedroom in my home to use as a office/studio/presentation room. I’ve purchased a few more Italian samples and I bought a 50″ TV during Black Friday. I probably need to repaint the room and I’m going to put in some type of hard wood floors. My goal is to have this room ready by the first quarter in 2015. I’m going to change my business model up somewhat next year and be more of a product-based and full-service photography company.
- WPPI 2015! COMPLETED. Event tickets purchased, flights made, and room booked. I’m ready. The only thing I’m still lacking is my entries for the print competition. I also one-upped this goal! I attended Jerry Ghionis’ How to Wow tour in San Antonio this year and I’m booked for Shutterfest in St. Louis next year.
- Print Ads. DECIDED AGAINST IT. I initially wanted to wait until I had a few other things in solid place before purchasing space in a wedding magazine. However, I’ve re-evaluated this and think I may try a bridal/wedding show first.
- Get fit! WORKING ON IT. I had many peaks and valleys this year. I’d get on a really good roll for two or three months, and this accidentally take five weeks off. (I’m currently in a valley.) However, I do weigh about nine pounds less that I did this time last year, I also think I am stronger and more conditioned. The classes at The Gym have helped with my fitness tremendously. I really enjoy going there and I don’t ever understand my vacations. I’m going back soon.
- 10 Weddings. FAIL. While my senior business grew, I booked zero weddings this year. I had inquiries and consultations, but no official bookings. I’ve revamped my collections a bit to try and make them easier to explain. This year, I’m going to be doing a little bit of advertising and I may ask a few specific wedding photographers if I can tag along for some more second opportunities.
- Financial goals. COMPLETED. I set a very specific goal of a grossing a certain dollar amount for this year, and I exceed it. Next year, will be even more!
- Be featured. COMPLETED. I submitted a few senior sessions, but none were featured in the way I had hoped. However, one of my images appeared on USA Today and another on the Snap Society. The Snap Society also did a feature on my growth as a photographer, and I had the privilege of being a guest judge for them.
- Video Promo. WORKING ON IT. I have one more day of shooting, but hope to have this completed early this year.
- Blog 3X/Week. FAIL. I blogged a total of 120 times in 2013 and only 77 times this year. This year was supposed to be more than last year.
- Prepare for a Wedding Expo in 2015. DECIDED AGAINST IT. Again, I decided to hold off on this expense until I had a few things in order. Specifically, I wanted a more diverse wedding portfolio and my video promo to be finished.
There is my rundown of goal performance for this past year. I think I did pretty well—eight out of ten isn’t bad (not counting the things I decided against). I am really disappointed with my blogging performance though. I didn’t realize until now that I had slacked that much. I need to amp that up a bit for 2015. Stay tuned to see what photography goals I have planned for next year. Until next time, be positive, happy, healthy, and don’t forget to be photographed.
I am a San Antonio-based wedding and senior photographer. I pride my business in offering a premier, first-class service coupled with an unforgettable and exclusive photography experience. I cater to clients who enjoy quality, luxury and five-star services. I help my clients create family heirlooms that will last for generations. As a professional photographer, my sole purpose is to provide you the absolute best photography. Ata-Girl offers an advantage of amazing, memorable and full-service photography.
I started Ata-Girl Photography Co., LLC in 2010. I firmly believe that the unique set of circumstances I have faced in life has prepared me to take a personal and genuine interest in my photography clients. I am a professional photographer who enjoys documenting the important milestones and captivating moments in people’s lives. I love being a part of people’s journey and consider myself privileged to document their legacies.
When I’m not photographing a wedding, family or high school senior, I love to spend my spare time hiking, cycling, reading, listening to Elvis and Prince. The most important thing in life is for me to see my two daughters happy!
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